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Dennis Lehane, A Drink Before the War

At Steve’s urging, I picked up Dennis Lehane’s first novel for my trip to DC, and am happy now to second that recommendation. This first of the Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro novels introduces many of the tropes that resurface in his work to follow–a decaying Boston, fraught race relations, and the lingering trauma of childhood abuse. His detectives flirt with the cliche of the good-person-living-in-bad-world, and yet demonstrate a kind of complexity that makes them worth following for their own sakes, not simply for the intricate plots they find themselves wrapped up in.

My only complaint about this first novel, having read the last of the five Kenzie/Gennaro novels first, is that I wanted more Bubba Rugowski. There’s something about his complete over-the-topness that I find really wonderful…


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